Study level

  • Master of Philosophy
  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Carlos Horacio Luna-Flores
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science
Adjunct Professor Robert Speight
Adjunct Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science

External supervisors

  • Juhani von Hellens, Bioproton
  • Wendy Chen, Bioproton


Traditionally derived from unsustainable petrochemicals, astaxanthin (AX) can also be sustainably produced by microbial fermentation. The yeast Phaffia rhodozyma naturally produces AX as its main fermentation product through sugar assimilation.

In previous studies, we improved the bioprocess to produce (upstream) AX in P. rhodozyma. This project aims to investigate the extraction, recovery, and formulation (downstream) of the AX produced in our improved AX production process.

AX is a carotenoid pigment and potent antioxidant naturally occurring in some ocean animals such as salmonids and shrimp. AX finds application in the animal feed, human nutraceutical, and cosmetics industries as a feed supplement, antioxidant, and additive, respectively. Diversification of the AX product will allow to expand the commercial applications of the AX produced in P. rhodozyma.

Research activities

Extract, formulate, and characterise different presentations of the AX produced in P. rhodozyma such as oleoresins, emulsions, water-soluble solutions, encapsulation, powder form, or liquid form.


  • gain knowledge of the microbial AX production through yeast fermentation
  • downstream yeast fermentation harvests such as centrifugation, homogenisation, spray drying, emulsification, and encapsulation.

Skills and experience

Ensure that you have the interest in solving a scientific question and building a self-motivated thinking mind.

Preferable backgrounds and skills:

  • fermentation
  • chemistry
  • process engineering
  • biology
  • microbiology
  • analytical chemistry
  • science.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships



Contact the supervisor for more information.